shov·​el | \ ˈshə-vəl How to pronounce shovel (audio) \

Definition of shovel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a hand implement consisting of a broad scoop or a more or less hollowed out blade with a handle used to lift and throw material
b : something that resembles a shovel
c : an excavating machine especially : a hydraulic diesel-engine driven power shovel


shoveled or shovelled; shoveling or shovelling\ ˈshə-​və-​liŋ How to pronounce shovelling (audio) , ˈshəv-​liŋ \

Definition of shovel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to take up and throw with a shovel
2 : to dig or clean out with a shovel
3 : to throw or convey roughly or in a mass as if with a shovel shoveled his food into his mouth

intransitive verb

: to use a shovel

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Synonyms for shovel

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of shovel in a Sentence

Verb He is outside shoveling snow. I have to shovel the driveway. I had to shovel for an hour to clear the driveway. The snow was so deep we had to shovel a path to our front door. Stop shoveling food into your mouth.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun It had been shoved off a dock, lifted back up with a shovel, deposited in a heap. Louise Erdrich, The New Yorker, "The Stone," 2 Sep. 2019 Just shovels, sweat, a turbo kind of leaf blower to burn the fire out, and long, bumpy, agonizing drives in aging jeeps and ATVs, across the dust and ash. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "As the Amazon fires rage, members of this indigenous community brace for their world to change," 29 Aug. 2019 According to police, when Gallegos returned home he can be seen unloading the two shovels, a chainsaw, contractor duty trash bags and cleaning supplies. Emilie Eaton,, "Husband of missing San Antonio woman seen unloading chainsaw, two shovels in front of home, police say," 29 Aug. 2019 Another Instagram shows True with a sand pail and a shovel, having some fun in the sun. Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West Shares a Rare Photo of All Four Kids," 22 Aug. 2019 Avoid backyard burning in windy conditions, and keep a shovel, water, and fire retardant nearby to keep fires in check. Mark Thiessen, National Geographic, "Wildfire safety tips," 12 Aug. 2019 Cossett burrowed into the dirt, using her rear feet like shovels, before finally depositing four eggs, all smooth, oval-shaped and blue-ish, in the nest. Elise Takahama, The Seattle Times, "‘I love ’em to death’: Kennewick woman gives home to hundreds of neglected tortoises," 5 Aug. 2019 Upon arrival, visitors pick from a small armory of blunt weapons — sledgehammers, shovels, crowbars, a surprisingly sturdy furniture leg — to demolish the inventory of beer bottles, old TVs and tables. Phillip Valys,, "Breaking news (literally): I smashed a toaster at Wreck It Ft Laudy and it felt so good | SummerTimeOut," 3 July 2019 This is where Cooper Jackson disposed of the handcuffs, the knife and the shovel, all of which were used in the murder of Justin Huff. CBS News, "Catfishing relationship between strangers leads to the murder of an innocent Marine," 19 June 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb My colleague Emma Baccellieri attempted to tackle that very question last week and found that writers and columnists have been shoveling dirt on the sport’s shallow grave for the better part of the last 100 years. Jon Tayler,, "MLB Is a Game of Extremes in 2019. What Does That Mean for the Sport's Future?," 3 Sep. 2019 The stalls are disinfected and the contents of the stalls are shoveled out onto the street, Koenen said. Zekriah Chaudhry, Twin Cities, "State Fair: Getting the animals in and out like a choreographed dance," 25 Aug. 2019 The speed of the Moon, and the speed of the rotation of the Earth, meant the planes really had to shovel to stay within the darkness created by the eclipse. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "When Three F-15 Jet Fighters Raced a Lunar Eclipse," 19 Apr. 2018 In addition to learning to communicate more openly, Natural Helpers assist local Elders in tasks like chopping wood, shoveling snow, washing dishes and taking out the trash. Anchorage Daily News, "Around Alaska, there’s a new approach to suicide prevention: Think locally," 17 Sep. 2019 At 84, Escamilla still raked leaves and shoveled snow. Patricia Callahan, ProPublica, "A Truck Delivering Amazon Holiday Packages. A Crash. A Family That Will Never Be the Same.," 5 Sep. 2019 Since retiring, Weertz's new job is maintaining the neighborhood by mowing lawns, raking leaves, and shoveling snow for neighbors. Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Audubon turns east side park into a haven for bird watchers," 3 Sep. 2019 While communities north of St. Louis are beginning the expensive path to recovery after record-breaking winter and spring precipitation and runoff, people below the Missouri River are shoveling mud from their houses and praying for a dry spell. Daniel Cusick, Scientific American, "No End in Sight for Record Midwest Flood Crisis," 26 June 2019 Dundon cut down its size by shoveling silt over the pile, and by October, the heap’s core was ashes, the fire out. Los Angeles Times, "Tim Dundon, ‘Guru of Doo Doo,’ whose compost nourished Altadena’s gardens, dies at 77," 6 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shovel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of shovel


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for shovel


Middle English, from Old English scofl; akin to Old High German scūfla shovel, Old English scūfan to thrust away

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Statistics for shovel

Last Updated

5 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for shovel

The first known use of shovel was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for shovel


How to pronounce shovel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of shovel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a tool with a long handle that is used for lifting and throwing dirt, sand, snow, etc.
: the part of a machine (such as a backhoe) that picks up and moves dirt, sand, snow, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of shovel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to lift and throw (dirt, sand, snow, etc.) with a shovel
: to remove snow from (a sidewalk, driveway, etc.) with a shovel
: to create (a path) by removing snow with a shovel


shov·​el | \ ˈshə-vəl How to pronounce shovel (audio) \

Kids Definition of shovel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a tool with a long handle and broad scoop used to lift and throw loose material (as dirt or snow)
2 : as much as a shovel will hold a shovel of sand


shoveled or shovelled; shoveling or shovelling

Kids Definition of shovel (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to lift or throw with a shovel shovel snow
2 : to dig or clean out with a shovel I shoveled out the sheep pens.
3 : to move large amounts of into something quickly He shoveled food into his mouth.

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Comments on shovel

What made you want to look up shovel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a calculated move

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